Title:                      Spy Wednesday

Author:                 William Hood

Hood, William (1986). Spy Wednesday. New York: Norton

LCCN:    85015390

PS3558.O545 S68 1986

Date Posted:      March 11, 2015


A retired 30-year-man with the CIA, Hood is the former executive officer of the Agency’s Counter Intelligence staff and the author of 1982s Mole[1], an account of the defection of Major Pyotr Popov in Vienna. Here, Hood’s first novel tells of retired CIA agent Alan Trosper’s recall to duty to take on a new double agent in Vienna who has fresh information on Dancer, the legendary Soviet defector in postwar Vienna. Trosper’s been selling yachts for a living when the new Agency head Bates signs him on again for the one-shot job: to contact an expensive new Russian, highly placed in Moscow Center, who is offering current counterintelligence data. In the first meet between Trosper and the Russian Kinzl, Kinzi explains how Trosper’s last double agent Galkin was arrested, interrogated and shot, and meanwhile lets drop the name Lopatin. Tracking down Lopatin lands Trosper in a meeting of the Thistle and Sonnet Society, a parody of Graham Greene’s sendup of a literary society in his Viennese mood masterpiece, The Third Man[2]. As Trosper works his way through Lopatin’s various cover names, including “Taenzer” or “Dancer,” Lopatin is revealed to be Grigory Aksenov, defecting Chief of Department Twelve, First Chief Directorate, Moscow. It’s a touch of Hitchcock when a thickheaded, too-rich American couple (to whom Trosper was trying to sell a posh yacht at the boat show in New York’s Coliseum) waltz into the middle of a superheated debriefing of Kinzl in Trosper’s Vienna safe house. The content of Kinzl’s first meeting with Trosper has already sped from Washington to Moscow! Is there a mole in Base’s office? The climax is delicious, with Trosper trying to get Aksenov out of Budapest on the Orient Express, the KGB colonel disguised as a gorgeously made-up woman in mink and wearing horn-rims—”Special for reading English,” Aksenov quips. Among the top spy thrillers of the season. But—is “William Hood” a hoodanym?

[1] Hood, William (1982). Mole – The True Story of the First Russian Spy to Become an American Counterspy. New York: Norton

[2] Greene, Graham (1943, 1950). The Third Man. New York, Viking Press


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